The Plank

Obamamania Across The Pond

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Via Ben Smith in Politico, I see that a new poll from the Telegraph in London shows Barack Obama trouncing John McCain among voters in five European countries. But lest TNR
readers doubt the poll's veracity, I can confirm this finding with some real, live,
first-hand reporting. (That's why they pay me the big bucks!)

As
it happens, I was in Europe for the last two weeks. And I, too, saw
signs of Obama's popularity there. The first came in Paris, along the
banks of the Seine, as I was walking along with my family. A merchant
recognized us as Americans--it could have been any number of giveaways,
but I'm guessing it was my eight-year-old son's Red Sox garb--and began
chanting "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma" as we passed.

The second hint came in Amsterdam, at a lovely cafe called Restaurant De Eettuin. When the bartender served us, my wife noticed an Obama button on his apron.

His
name is Robert Doets. It turns out that he, like a lot of the Dutch,
follows American politics quite closely--with a particular focus on the Democratic primary race. By his reckoning, while most
of his countrymen preferred Hillary Clinton early on, they've become
swept up in Obamamania, too. They particularly like his appeals to
unity and bipartisan cooperation, since there's a strong streak of
mutual cooperation in Dutch political culture.

Will any of this
help Obama politically? Of course not. Europeans don't vote in American
elections. And I'm sure a right-wing blogger somewhere is already busy writing about how the poll proves Obama is not a fully authentic American.

But I'm not a campaign operative. I'm just a journalist trying to pass along some facts--and justify a meal expense.

--Jonathan Cohn

 

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